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Virgil Grandfield and the Journal Incubator




This piece of writing I could not resist, as it was hammering in my brain, though I should concentrate on computing technology, artificial intelligence, or English language studies, which are kinds of assignments I need to finish. Let me introduce him! Virgil Grandfield is the managing editor of the Journal Incubator (www.digitalstudies.org), University of Lethbridge. Yes! His introduction is very simple and modest, but he has made a huge difference. His great capacity is to appreciate his colleagues’ work. He can value or applaud a single bibliographical entry as “beautiful,” “wonderful,” “such a wonderful entry,” or “great job.” These are comments that he makes constantly. Sometimes Virgil confesses, “I don’t know whether any editor feels like that, but I do. You, guys, are awesome, and our team is just excellent.” Sometimes, I told him, “Virgil, you praise us always; it would be wonderful if we got it written as a reference in each week on how we were doing.” I think it is really fun how Virgil teaches us how editing works. Now who are “us”? “We” means the graduate students of the Humanities Innovative Lab (HIL), Department of English, University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. Professor Daniel O’Donnell (whose project is to train the graduate students in scholarly communication; I shall write on this topic another day) is the leader of the lab and has given us the liberty to work whenever we are available to look at the journal work. Virgil Grandfield is one of Professor O’Donnell’s disciples, and Virgil works with the (new) graduate students from day one to train on editing, styling, and communicating. Virgil finds the good side of a new student and starts appreciating it for the group from the beginning of one’s journey, and he does the same for the old students too. Virgil presents new/old students to editors, senior editors, and the editor-in-chief, how well a student is doing in her/his work. Virgil’s wording really helps newcomers to the journal, and they never feel alienated. He keeps an upright spirit for his colleagues. That is not easy, a huge job, indeed!


Virgil makes the editing fun. Let me explain! You know one of the most difficult parts of scholarly writing is the referencing, and almost every scholar on the planet does some variation in writing the bibliography. We, as copy editors, correct citations in-text and also in the bibliography entry in terms of alphabetical order, dates, punctuation, single and double inverted commas, analytical title, monograph, weblink, accessed date, stable link, DOI, publishing place, and publisher, and we need to look up many hundred other issues in the Chicago style manual. Our journal works on Chicago author-date styling, and these editing things are all very time consuming and picky jobs. We need an eye for hard-checking and cleaning the dirt from the bibliography and in-text citation. We do the editing in stages. For example, at the first two stages, such as Copy Editing Zero (CE-0a and CE-0b), a copy editor works alone and cleans or corrects the bibliography. In the third stage, CE-0c, we call it “hard check.” CE-0c is simply needed to have a group of two or three people do the hard check on a single article so that we do not miss an error unnoticed. Then we have CE-1, CE-2, and CE-3 before styling and typesetting. In CE-0c, this is a fun time when we work with Virgil, who teaches us and appreciates our work wonderfully. In this stage, if any editor has checked one entry in a bibliography with complete attention at CE-0a and CE-0b levels, Virgil comes with hearty appreciation. Virgil exclaims, "Beautifully done!” This is really an extraordinary strategy so that the student editor never forgets what s/he has done in editing the next time s/he comes across it. Now I would say to you all, “Virgil Grandfield, one in a million.” I am saying this because I do not know or hear any other managing editor see a beauty in an editing job, even in a single entry.


Virgil uses all his appreciations, I believe, as tools not only to value others but also as points of instruction, making things rememberable or reinforced so that no one will forget what s/he has achieved. Virgil does not appreciate it once on one occasion or one time, but he does it consistently and every time the student editors meet him. Every moment I spend with him, I enjoy. It is worthy to spend time with Virgil in the meetings, and I love it. I would say that the fund for the Journal Incubator, which I do not know exactly all about, comes from the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) or Professor Daniel O’Donnell’s projects. Virgil and we, graduate students, survive on the fund, our bread and butter. The employers should remember that Virgil Grandfield is the man who puts forth tireless efforts to accommodate or constantly build an inclusive Journal Incubator team whenever a new student joins. This is the only thing that I remember that he is a man who appreciates student editors’ each entry of a bibliography and in-text citation. Virgil is a trainer, team-builder, and above all, he makes his fellow colleagues feel gifted. One word more! Yes! It’s Virgil! The journey at the Journal Incubator for the graduate students is, I believe, enjoyable and meorable.


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